Posted in media, society, world

On failing to live out a surmountable goal

(also read this on this occasion).

They say you’ve reached the main location of promise. Of discovery. Of eternal bliss. It’s the place between forgiveness and dissent. No country is really there yet but we can hope to get there sometime soon. We can dream that we have achieved greatness by ignoring the needs of the most responsible or upright citizens. Who is to say that anyone has ignored anyone. Suffice to say, it’s not a “war.” It’s a battle, if it was a real war there would be more ships cruising along in the clouds with blood splattering everywhere feeling all revolutionary. Oh wait. Guess that already happened, we’re just waiting for the last moments of sanity to come crashing down.

***

I think that in the current year, 2018, it is a good time to be raw. Let’s get honest about what we as a society expect. We can’t fully appreciate what we have and the opportunities we have if we always take them for granted. What is real equality and have we reached it? Are women equal? Are people equal?

The answer to all these things is a firm no. There might not be any balance to be found there either. If there is then it will be found at a later time. At a time when we are are living our last moments on Earth is when we stop caring because we know that it doesn’t matter what efforts we made, what matters is how the next group tries to fix the problems. We try to raise up a generation that will care about the environment, social causes, human rights, and equality. However, we also want children to have a mind to think for themselves. To be able to know what they want, but also be smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong. The things that are right are seldom made as an example to do again, while we stress the wrongs even as they continue to occur. For example: It’s wrong to punch or hit so it is “wrong.” What about helping a stranger or donating money to a local charity? Those are the “right” that we don’t talk about unless it’s in one of those “people on the street” videos that many seem to love doing.

Anyway, on this day remember what you have. Remember what others do not have. Always be grateful. What can you do more of? You can be the change you want to see, by giving back your time. You can start a chain reaction by simply creating connections with people who are not like you or those your social circle does not associate with. Step outside your comfort zone and realize that people, regardless of skin color, age, gender, ethnicity, background, or social status are all just people.

“How about this weather?” seems lame but in this case try it and see where it takes you. I hope you have many scintillating conversations with all kinds of people this year.

 

[image attribution: Ebony Magazine, 1955 (public domain) via Wikimedia Commons]

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Posted in changes, world

Not a consolation prize

It has been just over a week now that the United States has elected a new (and horrendous) president. He is in control. He has the power to destroy with his executive actions, all of which have long-term consequences. I wish I could say that it’s a great time to be American but alas it is not.

**

To those wondering what they are going to do in the next few months, hold tight to your own beliefs. Hold strong to the fact that there are people who want you to succeed. Ignore those that tell your otherwise no matter how much it hurts.

And I know it’s hard. It’s jarring to have to be afraid. When you came to this country for a better life and for greater opportunities. What does one do when those very opportunities are being taken away? Being relegated to nothing in favor of opportunity for the wealthy. Gone are the ideals of hard work and working for what you have it seems. Now, it seems that those that have a dream should re-think that dream. Re-tool it so that they can take part in the effort to take back their dream from the dream snatchers.

I won’t give you this blog post and say have a nice day, I’ll give you resources for allowing you to speak up:

Contact your local State Representative.

Tips for calling from a former congressional staffer.

Organize a protest!

Coping with the New America.

One thing you can be sure of is that you don’t belong in someone’s “box.” You’re not anyone’s prize to be won or trash to take out. There should be no compromise for you existing.

 

(cover image source).

Posted in world

Misinformed

Masjid-e Jami - Herat, Afghanistan
“Friday Mosque Herat door detail” by Marius Arnesen.  Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons-

I’m a Muslim. You don’t know me. If you follow this blog or subscribe to it or whatever, you still don’t know me (mostly because those that follow this blog are all strangers, a scary thought for me a bit but alas).

Everyone has an opinion. Some of them are the wrong opinion. Some of them fall under the presumption that their opinion trumps others. Do American Muslims not have the ability to have an opinion? Absolutely not. We are writers, poets, journalists, scientists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, mothers, and fathers. We are people.

Of course there are two kinds of people in the world. Those that follow their own agenda and decide that no one should live happily if they can’t or are not able to (yes, I believe that at least 50% of hate/terror in these cases comes down to happiness level and sanity) while the rest of the others either conform to the rules of society or break them through rebellion and resistance.

This is not trying to convince you or sway you in any particular direction. Maybe you’re a socialist and think everything is corrupt. Maybe those conspiracies you said about the police were true. In at least one city. Maybe more. Maybe you wanted to be arrested. To send a message. Who got the message? The target group or just the police? Would you die for any of your causes? If you say yes, would you really? Do you hate/love so much you would die and kill others for the cause?

What about things like Sharia law or “Refugees taking over my freedom?” you might ask. Sharia law is a system of government for running banks, laws, and day-to-day life under Islamic ruling. There are currently only 15 countries that follow this, combined with the country’s own government. Sharia would never happen in the U.S. or Canada because there are no Islamic courts. Read more here (in fact, please share it if you find it insightful): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/sharia-law-usa-states-ban_n_3660813.html

I could write whole host of other topics, but if you watch the news and listen to the President then you might be confused on what to think. Besides, I’m also no expert. You might be lost and you might be wondering how to make sense of it all. While many of you are capable of googling “what is Islam” or “Islam” or any other number of combinations, I’m going to share with you now some sources that I think you might read. Especially since you made it to the bottom of this post.

New Pew Research: Muslims and Islam: Key findings in the U.S. and around the world

BBC Report: What is ‘Islamic State?’

Muslim Reform Movement

Beautiful online exhibit of Muslim poets

Just a few images of Muslim scientists and discoveries

I can add more and recommend numerous Gallup polls on the topic of Muslims.

If you want to learn something, what’s stopping you. Before you say the media puts a negative light on Islam sometimes (I know) making it hard to sort through the good and bad, I ask you to seek out polls like Gallup and Pew Research for expert analysis. In addition think tanks or non-profit organizations like the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Advocates, Muslim Public Affairs Council, and Unity Productions Foundation as sources to seek out for information on specific Muslim groups (including law firms, non-profits, workplace, media, and community groups/organizations) along with reports on the status of Muslims. And yes, that was a super run-on sentence but check out those organizations.